How to make sublimation designs? An A to Z guide to follow

Have you ever wanted to create your own vibrant and durable sublimation designs, but felt overwhelmed about where to start? I’ve been there too, confused by the myriad of tools and techniques needed for this exciting printing process.

That’s why I dove into extensive research on how to make sublimation designs easier and more efficient. In this blog post, we’ll break down the entire process into easy-to-follow steps, uncover tips for creating stellar designs using various software platforms like Cricut Design Space or Canva, discuss common mistakes and FAQs you might have along the way.

Ready for some fun DIY design adventure? Let’s dive in!

Can you make your own sublimation designs?

Absolutely! Creating your own sublimation designs is not only possible, but also a thrilling and rewarding adventure. As a sublimation maker, you get to express your creativity and bring to life vibrant prints using easily accessible tools like Cricut Design Space, Canva or Procreate.

The first step in the journey involves selecting an image or photo that resonates with your ideas.

The entire process of designing for sublimation printing requires specialized equipment such as a printer, sublimation ink, heat press and crucially — sublimation paper. However, these elements are worth investing in given the quality and durability of designs they help produce.

From shirts to tumblers — there’s no limit to what products can bear the mark of your creativity via customizing sublimation products! What’s more? You can turn this passion into profit by selling your unique designs.

Various resources available online even provide free design templates as stepping stones on which you can build upon while still mastering how to make perfect DIY sublimation designs from scratch.

So, whether you’re a novice just starting out or an experienced designer exploring advanced techniques and trends in color options for product customization; creating artwork specifically for sublimation printing is definitely within reach.

how to make sublimation designs

Platforms for creating sublimation designs

Learn how to create stunning sublimation designs using popular platforms like Cricut, Canva, Silhouette Studio, Procreate, and DesignScape.

Using Cricut Design Space

I absolutely love using Cricut Design Space to create my sublimation designs! It’s a user-friendly graphic design tool that offers plenty of features and options for customization.

With Cricut Design Space, you can easily import your images or choose from their vast library of designs. The software allows you to manipulate your designs by resizing, rotating, and adding text or shapes.

You can also explore different fonts and color options to make your sublimation design truly unique. Once you’re satisfied with your creation, simply save it as a PNG file and transfer it onto sublimation paper for printing.

Using Canva

I absolutely love using Canva for creating stunning sublimation designs! It’s an incredibly user-friendly graphic design tool that offers a wide range of features and templates to help bring your ideas to life.

With Canva, you can easily import images, add text, and customize your designs with various elements.

One of the best things about Canva is its versatility in creating sublimation designs for different products. Whether you want to make sublimation shirts, tumblers, or any other personalized items, Canva makes it easy to resize and adjust your designs accordingly.

Another great feature of Canva is the option to collaborate with others on your sublimation design projects. You can share your designs with team members or clients and work together seamlessly.

Using Silhouette Studio

I love using Silhouette Studio for creating sublimation designs. This powerful design software offers a wide range of capabilities, making it perfect for sublimation makers. With Silhouette Studio, you can easily import your images and designs, customize them with various tools and effects, and create stunning sublimation artwork.

The user-friendly interface makes it easy to navigate through the different features and options available. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced designer, Silhouette Studio is a great choice for bringing your sublimation design ideas to life.

So go ahead and explore all the possibilities that Silhouette Studio has to offer!

Using Procreate

When it comes to creating sublimation designs, one powerful tool that you can use is Procreate. This digital painting app offers a wide range of features and capabilities that can help you bring your design ideas to life.

With Procreate, you can import images or sketches, add layers for easy editing, and utilize a variety of brushes and effects to enhance your design. Whether you’re looking to create detailed illustrations or vibrant patterns for sublimation printing, Procreate provides the flexibility and functionality needed to achieve high-quality results.

It’s worth exploring this app if you’re serious about taking your sublimation design skills to the next level.

Using DesignScape

I love using DesignScape for creating sublimation designs. It’s a versatile graphic design software that offers a range of tools and features specifically tailored for sublimation printing.

With DesignScape, I can easily import images, customize colors and patterns, and add overlays to create unique and vibrant designs. The interface is user-friendly, making it perfect for both beginners and experienced designers.

Plus, DesignScape allows me to merge layers effortlessly, resize designs accurately, and flip them as needed. The best part? I can directly print my sublimation designs or export them in the required format for professional printing.

How to make sublimation designs?

To make sublimation designs, you need to follow a few key steps: come up with design ideas, select a graphic design tool, check sublimation guidelines, explore sublimation products, download design templates, and order samples.

Step 1: Coming up with design ideas

Creativity is the cornerstone of successful sublimation design. As a sublimation maker, it’s essential to frequently generate unique and appealing design ideas that reflect your personal style while also appealing to your target market.

Start by searching for inspiration – existing designs, patterns, color combinations can all be great starting points. Don’t limit yourself to just looking at other sublimation pieces; art, fashion, interior design trends and even nature can spark brilliant ideas.

Once you’ve gathered some initial inspiration, sketch out ideas or create digital mockups using software like Canva or Procreate. This will help you visualize how your designs would look on various products such as shirts or tumblers.

Remember that in the world of vibrant prints and durable designs produced through sublimation printing techniques, there are no boundaries – only opportunities for customization!

Step 2: Selecting a graphic design tool

Navigating the world of graphic design tools is a crucial step in creating your sublimation designs. As a maker, you’ll want to select the right software that’s user-friendly and caters to your creative needs.

Platforms like Canva and Cricut Design Space come highly recommended due to their range of design options and ease of use. If you’re aiming for more advanced techniques, Procreate might be a better choice with its extensive brush libraries and layering capabilities.

This stage gives you immense power over how your final product will look – from image import to overlay design or merging layers. It’s important not just for creating artwork but also properly resizing, flipping, or even printing your designs as per sublimation principles.

Step 3: Checking sublimation guidelines

Before you start creating your sublimation designs, it’s essential to check the specific guidelines for sublimation printing. Different surfaces and products have different requirements and limitations when it comes to sublimation.

By understanding these guidelines, you can ensure that your designs will turn out vibrant and durable.

For example, some materials may require a certain temperature or pressure during the heat transfer process, while others may have size restrictions for optimal results. Additionally, some surfaces may need a special coating before the design can be applied.

By taking the time to familiarize yourself with these guidelines, you’ll save yourself from potential frustrations and avoid wasting time and resources on designs that won’t work well with sublimation printing.

Remember that checking the sublimation guidelines is an important step in creating successful sublimation designs for various products like shirts or tumblers.

Step 4: Exploring sublimation products

When exploring sublimation products, it’s important to consider the wide range of options available. From t-shirts and mugs to keychains and phone cases, there are endless possibilities for customizing items with vibrant sublimation designs.

The versatility of sublimation printing allows you to experiment with different surfaces and materials, giving you the freedom to create unique and personalized products. Keep in mind that not all products may be suitable for sublimation printing, so it’s essential to research and select items specifically designed for this printing technique.

Remember, the quality of your chosen sublimation products will directly impact the final result of your designs, so take your time exploring and selecting high-quality options that align with your creative vision.

Step 5: Downloading design templates

One of the easiest ways to get started with creating sublimation designs is by downloading design templates. These templates are pre-made designs that you can customize and use for your own sublimation projects.

They provide a great starting point and save you time and effort.

When searching for design templates, consider the specific product you want to create. Whether it’s shirts, mugs, or other items, there are templates available for nearly every type of sublimation product.

Look for websites or online marketplaces that offer downloadable templates in various formats such as JPEG or PNG.

Once you have downloaded the template, open it in your chosen graphic design tool and begin customizing it to fit your vision. You can change colors, add text, incorporate images or patterns – the possibilities are endless! Just remember to ensure that your final design adheres to the guidelines provided by your sublimation printer and heat press equipment.

Step 6: Ordering samples

Ordering samples is an essential step when creating sublimation designs. It allows you to test the quality and accuracy of your design before producing it in bulk. By ordering samples, you can ensure that the colors are vibrant, the details are crisp, and the overall design meets your expectations.

This also gives you a chance to assess how well the design transfers onto different products like shirts or tumblers. Don’t skip this step as it will save you time, money, and frustration later on.

Plus, with free resources available online for sublimation designs, you can easily find affordable options for ordering samples to ensure that your final product will be top-notch.

Tips and Tricks for Sublimation Design Creation

Clean up your designs for better results. Add overlays and merge layers to create unique effects. Properly resize and flip your designs for perfect placement. Discover the best ways to share and print your sublimation designs.

Want to take your sublimation design skills to the next level? Read on!

1. Clean up designs for better results

When creating sublimation designs, it is crucial to clean up your designs for better results. This involves removing any unwanted elements, adjusting colors and sizes, and optimizing the design for printing.

By cleaning up your designs, you can ensure that they come out vibrant and crisp when transferred onto your desired surface. Pay attention to details such as removing background clutter or enhancing the clarity of the image.

Additionally, check for any imperfections or areas that may need touch-ups before printing. Remember that a well-cleaned design will yield high-quality results in the sublimation process, resulting in professional-looking and durable designs on your chosen products.

2. Adding overlays and merging layers

When creating sublimation designs, one important technique to master is adding overlays and merging layers. Overlays are transparent images or patterns that can be placed over your main design to add depth, texture, or visual interest.

By using overlays strategically, you can enhance the overall look of your sublimation design. Merging layers involves combining multiple layers into a single layer, which helps streamline the design process and allows for easier editing and printing.

This technique ensures that all elements of your design work seamlessly together before transferring it onto the desired surface. Remember to experiment with different overlay options and explore various blending modes to achieve unique effects in your sublimation designs.

3. Proper resizing and flipping

When creating sublimation designs, it’s important to understand the importance of proper resizing and flipping. Resizing your design allows you to ensure that it fits perfectly on the surface you’re printing on, whether it’s a shirt or a tumbler.

This step ensures that your design looks professional and avoids any awkward stretching or distortion.

Flipping or mirroring your design is crucial for sublimation printing because it ensures that the final image appears correctly when transferred onto the surface. Since sublimation designs are printed onto transfer paper in reverse, flipping the image ensures that when transferred, it will appear in its correct orientation.

4. Sharing and printing sublimation designs

As a sublimation maker, one of the key steps in the design process is sharing and printing your creations. Once you’ve finished designing your sublimation artwork, it’s time to bring it to life on various products.

The most common way to share and print sublimation designs is by using a heat press.

To share your designs with others, you can save them as digital files or upload them to websites where customers can purchase and download them. There are also online marketplaces specifically for sublimation designs that allow you to sell your creations directly.

When it comes to printing, it’s important to use high-quality sublimation paper and ink for vibrant and durable results. Keep in mind that not all printers are compatible with sublimation ink, so be sure to check the specifications before making a purchase.


1. What is the best app to make sublimation designs?

When it comes to creating sublimation designs, there are several great apps that can help you bring your ideas to life. One of the best apps for making sublimation designs is Canva.

With its user-friendly interface and wide range of design templates, Canva makes it easy to customize your designs and create vibrant prints. Another popular app is Procreate, which offers more advanced features for those looking to take their sublimation designs to the next level.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced designer, these apps provide the tools you need to create high-quality and durable sublimation designs for various products like shirts and tumblers.

2. Can I make sublimation designs in Canva?

Yes, you can definitely make sublimation designs in Canva. Canva is a popular graphic design tool that offers various features and templates to create stunning designs for sublimation printing.

With Canva, you can import your own images or choose from their extensive library of high-quality graphics and illustrations. It also allows you to add overlays, merge layers, resize and flip designs to fit your desired products.

Whether you’re designing sublimation shirts or customizing other products, Canva provides a user-friendly platform to unleash your creativity and achieve vibrant and durable sublimation designs.

3. Can any file be used for sublimation?

When creating sublimation designs, it’s important to use the right file formats for optimal results. While you have some flexibility in choosing file types, not all files are suitable for sublimation printing.

The best file format for sublimation is typically a high-resolution PNG (Portable Network Graphics) with a transparent background.

Unlike JPEGs or other compressed image formats, PNG files preserve the quality of your design and allow for smooth color transitions during the printing process. It’s also essential to make sure that your design is properly sized and has a resolution of at least 300 DPI (dots per inch) to ensure sharp and vibrant prints.

Additionally, keep in mind that sublimation works best on white or light-colored surfaces as the ink is translucent and mixes with the base color. Darker surfaces may result in less vibrant colors or alterations in the design’s appearance.


In conclusion, creating your own sublimation designs is an exciting and rewarding process. By following the steps outlined in this article and utilizing tools like Cricut, Canva, Procreate, and more, you can unleash your creativity and produce vibrant and durable prints.

Whether you’re customizing shirts or exploring other sublimation products, the possibilities are endless. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques and design ideas to achieve high-quality results.

Start your sublimation design journey today and unlock a world of customization possibilities!

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